Tea Cakes {with Coffee}

These little tea cakes are just so adorable. They are happy, and that makes me happy 🙂 And they taste about 1000 times better than they look. 

I know these are technically meant to be eaten with tea in the afternoon. But I say, Why not with coffee in the morning? I’m an adult, I can make that call, right? 

Besides, the light was landing on that one in the back, illuminating it and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” 
Eat dessert first! And by first, I mean, for breakfast!

Oh. Yeah.
I also ate an egg for breakfast because, y’know, adults have to make the tough decisions.

These would be brilliant to have in a pretty basket down on the kitchen counter by the coffee maker for early-rising Christmas guests. They’ll feel like royalty in a 100-diamond hotel. Which is way, way, way better than a 5-star hotel. Duh!
This is the marvelous Gesine’s recipe, which I made gluten-free using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour, added some almond extract, and used my mini-mini bundt pan from Nordicware. Show her the love for this amazing recipe!

Chai Shortbread Cookies

These cookies are quintessentially Christmas-y. 
They are like Christmas Stars saying, “Be Merry! Be Bright!”

Oh my goodness they’re yummy, yummy.

And pretty. They are everything a Christmas cookie should be. 
Chai Shortbread Cookies
by Good Girl Style

1 package Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free shortbread cookie mix OR 1 recipe of your favorite shortbread cookie recipe
1 1/2 sticks butter (for cookie mix)
1 large egg yolk (for cookie mix)
2 TBSPs. water (for cookie mix)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 to1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 TBSPs. corn syrup
4 TBSPs. water (more or less as needed)
1/2 tsp. almond extract (it’s clear so it keeps the icing white; OR 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract)
To decorate:
Star Anise
Cinnamon Sticks
To Begin: Follow the package directions for the cookie mix OR for your favorite shortbread cookie recipe, stirring in the spices to your own liking. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; give it a few good but gentle kneads until it comes together. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour. Once chilled, cut the dough in half and work with half of it at a time on your lightly floured work surface. Roll to desired thickness (I made some thick and some thin…they both taste great, but the thin ones were very fragile). Cut your cookies with lightly floured cookie cutters. Since this dough is fragile, take your time and use a thin spatula to help you move the cookies if need be, flexing the cookie cutters to gently release the dough onto the cookie sheet. If the dough becomes too warm, chill the cookies and dough before baking. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your cookies. Repeat process until you have used up all of the dough. 
Carefully, carefully, carefully slide the cookies onto a cooking rack with a thin spatula. Once completely cooled, make the icing. Sift the confectioners sugar into a medium bowl. Add the corn syrup and flavoring. Slowly add the water while mixing until everything is incorporated and you have a stiff icing for piping the edges. You want to be able to pipe it, so it should be stiffer than regular icing. Put a quarter of this icing into a pastry bag with a very thin round tip, or into a Ziploc bag with the top twisted and the tiniest corner snipped off. Outline the stars with this icing. 
Now add the rest of the water to the leftover icing to get the consistency of a normal or “flooding” icing. Fill the pastry bag or Ziploc again and flood the inside of the stars to fill them in with icing. Let dry. 
Sprinkle some with cinnamon, leave some plain, and add Star Anise to some.

ENJOY in good Christmas spirits!

PS> I served these with Pumpkin Spice Eggnog.